Para Sara

Last week I submitted an application on the District 20 website. I was hoping to start my career working in a non-certified position in an elementary school. This was a path that I slowly realized over the last year while working for Science Matters. I love the whole elementary school environment. The people that work there are doing it because they care. The kids are still young enough to respect authority and besides K-5 is such a fun time for kids!

The very next day after I submitted my app, I got a phone call requesting an interview as a Special Ed Paraprofessional. I had already researched paraprofessionals and knew that most are in a special ed environment. I have never worked with kids who have special needs, but I do know that I up for the challenge and I care which is a good starting point. The interview took place the next day and there were 3 interviewers and 8 questions. I am good with people, but I did get a little nervous. I tried to answer the questions as honestly as I could while ignoring the fact that I could feel my face getting red. 12 minutes later, it was over.

The next day while out running errands I got a phone call offering me the job. I cannot believe that my new career path is starting so soon! I learned that I would be working one on one with an autistic kindergartner. I went to Borders and got a book called Embracing Autism and spent the weekend reading. What I learned is that I should learn to expect the unexpected, avoid teaching him learned helplessness and to throw all my expectations out the window. Basically, this is a job that you really cannot prepare for. I am excited but also scared that I will inadvertently mess up his educational plan. Here is a kid that we are trying to prepare to live a world that is our norm, not his. I have a feeling that I going to learn a lot about myself, society and autism this upcoming year.

Here I go....


A week in the life...

Day by day our lives aren't very exciting so if I sum up our week maybe, just maybe, it might sound more dazzling. We'll see... Here is goes in no particular order.

The vet. Any pet owner should be familiar with their vet. Any multiple pet owner should personally be supporting their vets family with how much money they drop there. We didn't take on more than we could handle though. We got rescue dogs and cats because we know that we will give them a good quality of life. That quality of life includes annual and bi-annual vaccinations, teeth cleanings, grooming, nail clippings, boardings, and the random semi-emergency that labs seem to get themselves into. Fortunately we love our vet clinic and they love our animals, although Ivy does test their patience!

Yesterday we had to take Dewey in to get blood drawn so we could continue him on Heartguard. He is now a big, short and stout boy of 40.6 lbs! Today I am taking Piper to get a myriad of her annual vaccinations. Piper does much better at the vet than her brother. When Dewey is intimidated he growls. When Dave took him last time apparently he wasn't a very good boy. I don't have too much trouble with them at the vet though.

I had a job interview yesterday for a PT position as a Special Ed Paraprofessional. It was actually my cousin Steve who suggested that I check out being a Teacher's Aide. Paraprofessionals are more common since the No Child Left Behind Act and it sounds like exactly what I want to do at this point in my life. I knew I wanted to work in the elementary school system in a classified, but not certified, position. As a paraprofessional, I would be part of a team and would be helping a child work towards their educational goals. I don't have much experience working with special needs kids, but I am willing to learn. Even if this position falls through, I live within 20 minutes of 3 school districts so I have options.

The other morning we woke up to about an inch of snow on the ground. We knew it was coming, but that doesn't mean I was ready to see it yet! Dave lit a fire in the fireplace two nights in a row, but the 10 day forecast now predicts sunshine and 60s. Winter in Colorado is so weird. Here is a mental image for you though - Dewey in a foot of snow! Dave and I laughed for quite some time at Dewey's expense. Isn't that we have pets and kids? Entertainment value!!??

I have been driving Dave's car this past week and vice versa. I know Dave likes that my car is more sporty and he can drive like the Jersey boy wind in it! I like being able to sit higher up in the Jeep, but I do miss my little car. Maybe we can each have custody of the opposite car every other week. We'll see. Once it starts snowing more habitually though, I am taking the Jeep every day! My little wonderful car lacks 4 wheel drive.

I have been reading a ton lately. I have always been a fast and voracious reader, but there are times when I just can't stop. My vice are romance novels! My sister Mary introduced me to them 15+ years ago and I have been a fan ever since. There are certain authors I prefer more than others and I absolutely cannot stand the ones with weak female protagonists. If a woman is willing for forgive a man willy nilly for infidelity then that is not the book for me. I like flawed but redeemable characters. Currently I will read any Julia Quinn or Susan Wiggs novel. They are wonderful!

Well I am just about done with our ever so exciting week. Yippee......


Basket Case

I have fallen in love with baskets. They always held a certain appeal to me and no trip to Michael's is compete until I have perused the basket section. I never really had a real use for them until I started organizing our house. Now I have baskets for magazines, for closet storage, for kleenex, purses, and even for potpourri! I can't stop with the basket lust. I want wicker baskets all over the house, but the suckers can be expensive so it is just one at a time. I hope my house doesn't turn into a kitschy country basket abode.


Cats rule!

I love that even after 5 1/2 years I can still walk into a room, see my not-so-little Madison and everything else just melts away. I have 2 cats and 2 dogs and I love them all equally but each one has different personalities and Maddy takes the cake for sweetheart of the pack. She is the most adorable, loving cat - almost equal to my sister's cat Enterprise!

People who say they are not cat people have never had a cat like Maddy. It is the assumption that cats are aloof and you can just leave them be and all will be okay. That is so not true. Cats need to be loved, talked to, brushed, and reprimanded (by spray bottles only!) Dave once read that while dogs need to see you as a member of their pack, cats view you in a maternal/paternal light. So I really am Maddy and Ivy's mom and need to treat them as my "kids".

What I really hate is the question, are you a dog person or a cat person? Why don't they ever leave room to be both? If you happen to be a dog AND a cat person I think that just makes you more adaptable and well-rounded. I am a bit biased on the topic though.

Here is a picture of my sweet Madison that I took last night. I just want to go hug her now.


November 4th

It doesn't matter if you are Green, Independent, Democrat or Republican, we all know that the upcoming election is very important. The economy is in the crapper (Dave's words) and now more than ever Americans need a President they can believe in.

What I cannot abide by though is other peoples intolerance and ignorance. If you know me then you already know who I am voting for so this next part should not come as a surprise. My Dad gave us an Obama yard sign to bring home with us after our wedding. I proudly displayed it in our front yard until earlier today when somebody stole it. We called the Obama campaign office to see if they had more signs, which they did. We drove there straight away and had a nice talk with the volunteer. She said that sadly many people have been victims of the Obama sign thief.

Seriously people.

First of all, by stealing my sign you are not deterring me from voting for whom I think is the best candidate. Second of all, I am just going to go right back to the campaign office and donate more money and get more signs. In the end, these sign thieves are just helping Obama's campaign. We bought four more today in anticipation of a few more sign thieves before November 4th. I have also taped one inside our window. I am not afraid of voicing my opinion and if people disagree with my views that is their prerogative, but don't be lame and steal from me. It is against the law and is not what this election should be about.

Vote on November 4th!! Just do it!

Please Don't Stop the Music

Almost 4 years ago now I dove headfirst into the land of music and have never regretted it. I have always liked John Denver, Neil Diamond, Gordon Lightfoot, and Elvis because of Mom. Later on, my sister Marlene introduced me to The Cure, Depeche Mode, and The Smiths and I have Amy to thank for Erasure, but I had never really explored much beyond that. Winter of2005 was a pretty low point in my life. I had for the first time in my life really, truly had my heart broken and it hurt. My first tattoo followed shortly thereafter, but I realized that probably wasn't the best hobby to get help me get over my hurt. Don't get my wrong, I love my tattoo and have never regretted getting it, or my 2nd one for that matter, but it isn't the way to heal a broken heart. Bridget Jones chose vodka and I chose music.

I am a list maker and going through my old notebooks I have pages upon pages of songs and bands that I discovered during this period of my life. Woxy.com became my bible and Pitchfork became my news. I always had the latest issues of Filter, Under The Radar and The Big Takeover. Music was my life during this time and it really did help me through a tough patch. Before I knew it my heart was on the mend and I had a great knowledge and love of the music that surrounded my life.

Arcade Fire, Artic Monkeys, Bauhaus, Bjork, Bloc Party, Bright Eyes, Broken Social Scene, Camper Van Beethoven, The Concretes, The Detroit Cobras, the Doves, The Elected, The Fall, The Flaming Lips, Franz Ferdinand, The Futureheads, Hard-Fi, Holly Golightly, Hot Chip, Husker Du, Interpol, Iron & Wine, James, Jenny Lewis, Joy Division, Kaiser Chiefs, Keane, LCD Soundsystem, Le Tigre, M. Ward, Magnetophone, The New Pornographers, Of Montreal, The Postal Service, Queens of the Stone Age, Rogue Wave, The Rosebuds, The Shins, The Sights, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Spoon, Stereolab, The Strokes, The Sugarcubes, Underworld, the White Stripes, and XTC are just some of the artists who helped get me trough. They remain some of my favorites today. I love music. I love hearing a song and the radio and actually get excited for more!

I am currently making a new car Cd. I make a new car Cd about every 3 months and rotate out one of my old ones from my 6 Cd changer. Dave usually gets the one I rotate out and then he gets to enjoy them like they were new. So far on my new car Cd I have these songs:

  1. "X amount of Words" by Blue October (I am really enjoying this band right now)
  2. "I Don't Remember" by Peter Gabriel (How can you not like Peter Gabriel?)
  3. "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" by Cake (A classic song by Cake)
  4. "Black Betty" by Ram Jam (This is just a fun song)
  5. "Sissyneck" by Beck (Odelay is the best Beck album in my opinion)
  6. "For Reasons Unknown" by The Killers (First heard the Killers on my way to work when their first single "Somebody Told Me" from Hot Fuss was released. I have loved them since)
  7. "Overweight" by Blue October
  8. "Sex on Fire" by Kings of Leon (I've had a Kings of Leon cd for awhile, but really didn't get into them until their new song "Sex on Fire" was released)
  9. "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay (I like Keane better than Coldplay, but I love this song)
  10. "Mercy" by Duffy (This song was used for a routine on So You Think You Can Dance? and it was great!)
  11. "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis (She has an amazing voice! Her music is a bit commercial, but I cannot get over how pure her voice is!)
  12. "Beverly Hills" by Weezer (Oldie but goodie by Weezer)
I still need about 6-7 more songs for this Cd, but I need to think about it for awhile. A good car Cd can't be made in a day.

Any recommendations????


Matron Sara

So I am the Matron of Honor in my best friends wedding on July 18th. I am thrilled and excited and cannot wait to be there for her! I love Becky and miss her so much.

Today I started thinking about the bridal shower and bachelorette party. I live 1300 miles away and do not know the other bridesmaids. I just e-mailed Becky for their e-mail addresses and I am hoping they will be super helpful and awesome since I can only do so much living in CO. I will be in MI for Christmas and then again for the shower and the wedding. Most of that time will be devoted to Becky and I am hoping it will involve at least one trip with a bad karaoke version of a Mase or Shania Twain song!!

I don't really know why I am writing this blog. I guess I just want to be a great Matron of Honor for her and I want her wedding and the events surrounding it to be all that she has ever wanted. Becky has such a big heart and is always there for the people in her life so she deserves to have the people in her life give back tenfold.

Yesterday I looked at houses for sale in Ann Arbor. Sometime I wish we still lived there near family and friends. I am glad that we moved though. My life needed a little shaking up and this time together has really helped strengthen mine and Dave's relationship. I would really like to end up back in Ann Arbor though. I have never felt more at home then when I lived there. Only time will tell. Until then I will be the best long distance friend, sister, daughter, aunt and matron of honor that I can be.


I can't stop redecorating

I have been on a huge redecorating/organizing kick lately. You've already read the blogs about the pantry, basement and dining room, but I have yet to tell you about our bedroom and living room.

I have been wanting nightstands forever! How convenient to have a light right next your bed and a place to put my glasses and most recent romance novel. Ahh nightstands. At Target last week they had tall, black nightstands on clearance. Our bedroom set is black and our bed is tall. Sounded like a no brainer. I brought them home, set them up and decided that our bedroom needed to be rearranged. I waited until Dave got home since the bed is HEAVY and then we went to work. We moved the dogs crates to make them not so dangerous in middle of the night, the crates not the dogs. Moved the bed about 2-3 feet to the right (made a huge difference) and moved some lamps around. Nothing drastic, but it look and feels great.

Moving on to the living room. We really don't spend too much in our front living room unfortunately. All our nice stuff is in there and we do not trust the dogs enough to not destroy everything. Anyway. We bought another set of bookshelves since the one we currently have has long been overflowing. I got new, uniform photo albums and severely edited the pictures I previously had in albums. I used to throw all my pictures in album regardless. I had pictures of people who I don't even remember. They are gone. I only kept the pictures of people I know and the photos that make me smile.

Once all this was done and our new china cabinet arrived, the bay window area of the living room looked unfinished comparatively. My sister-in-law gave us some light green curtains last time we were in Michigan so I decided to incorporate them into the schema. I went to Target and got a few accessories and now our front living room is complete...for the time being!

I love decorating!!


China Cabinet

We finally got a china cabinet so all my pretty stuff now has a home. We got a ridiculously great price, plus it was delivered two days later! Without further ado, I introduce our newest addition!

"and somewhere far away a lonely bell was ringing"

I have probably posted this before and I will probably post is again, but I absolutely love Sunday morning. I don't know where or when this love started, but I feel like it has always been there. I have worked on Sunday morning, gone to church (a long time ago), woken up married, dealt with tenacious puppies, snow storms, baked muffins, slept in and missed the entire morning, and enjoyed many first sips of Sunday morning coffee. All these mornings have been great and I wouldn't trade in a single one them. Regardless of what happens on Sunday morning, the trill and the luster is still there. I hope my marriage is one, big, long Sunday morning. Wouldn't that be lovely?

This particular Sunday morning I woke up early with the dogs and let Dave sleep in. While they were outside I made a pot of Green Mountain Rain Forest Nut coffee and got their food ready. Then I snapped the cutest picture of the two of them being sweet!

When we first got Dewey, he and Piper were not exactly the best of friends. In fact, there were times when I would cry because I thought we were going to have to give Dewey back. They gave each other scars and growled and bit and snapped. They both wanted to be dominate. Fortunately though, they both saw Dave and I as the pack leaders which was promising. Fast forward 9 months and you would not believe that these two could have killed each other before. When we take them to doggie daycare, the staff won't separate the two. Even though Dewey should not be in the big dog pen, that is where Piper is and so that is where Dewey goes. When we look at them on the web cam (it is a yuppie doggie daycare) they are always next to each other. Two dogs are just so much better than one!

We are getting a new china cabinet later so I will post more then!

Happy Sunday Morning!!!



When I Googled "basement organization" all the articles that came up were about basements that had suffered years, if not decades, of neglect. That thought terrifies me. One day walking into my basement and then turning right around b/c I can't even stand the sight of it. So I went straight to Lowe's and got two pairs of shelves and lots of little clear Rubbermaid containers. On Saturday Dave and I went downstairs and did not emerge until it was up to my standards...well almost.

Our basement wasn't really messy. We haven't lived here long enough for that, but there was not enough storage and a lot of stuff was just hanging out on the floor. The basement is also my crafting area and I have a hard time working in a cluttered space. About 2 hours and a car load of stuff for Goodwill later, we were done!

(The shelves from Lowe's)

(Our new wall of organization)

Next projects are the backyard and laundry room. Dave just fixed one retaining wall in the back and we are going to buy more of the bricks to create a flower a bed along the back fence. The laundry room is going to have a massive transformation. New paint, bead board, flooring, shelves, the works! I am so excited!!!


Marlene Rocks!

Getting the mail is one of my favorite things. It is like getting a present everyday, even though I usually end up recycling my "presents". Oh well! Yesterday when I got the mail there was an large squishy envelope from my sister. Even though I did not know what was inside, it made me smile! Once I opened it, it made me laugh. I love how well my sisters know me.

(My favorite candy!)

Thank you Marlene! I love them.

Pantry Reorganization

So I have been bored, bored, bored lately. I am currently applying for a 2nd part-time job so that will help alleviate some of this boredom, but until then... Wedding planning was so time consuming that now I have oodles of time to fill everyday. If you were me, what would you do? Let me tell you what you would do - clean and organize!!! I started with an area of our house hat literally gets used daily - the pantry. Anyone that knows me is probably thinking there is no way that Sara has an unorganized house, but there is always room for improvement!

I went to Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond to get ideas to make the pantry a little more functional. I ended up getting some Rubbermaid baskets, some square, cloth baskets and two of the wire shelves that you can put stuff underneath and on top of. Then I cleaned out our IKEA recycle bins that formerly held plastic and tin in one and glass in the other. We just got a new, HUGE recycle bin from Bestway Disposal (our trash collector) that doesn't require sorting. Woohoo!

Next up was the fun part! I removed everything from the pantry, cleaned the shelves and moved some stuff that didn't belong there to the current resting places. I put some of our new wedding gifts on the top shelf, mostly serving dishes, and then worked my way down. I must say I am very pleased with the results. My favorite new feature of the pantry are the two cloth boxes that now house our shopping bags. Before they were just thrown on the bottom shelf and looked really cluttered. Now they look great!! Of course I have pictures of my new, lovely and organized pantry!

(The boxes from Target that house my shopping bags)

(The orange Rubbermaid baskets, and wire shelves)

(The finished product!)

Next project: The Basement!!


Sara's Top 10 signs of fall

10. The leaves on the few deciduous trees we have start changing.

9. You start pulling out your favorite sweaters to warm up the chilly nights.

8. My birthday has come and gone

7. The flowers in front start browning and not due to my lack of a green thumb.

6. You go the store and see pumpkins and apple cider.

5. I get to pull my thick smartwools out of hibernation.

4. The Holiday cooking issues of magazines hit the stands.

3. I start thinking about Christmas cards and my annual Holiday letter.

2. The down comforter goes back on the bed.

and my most favorite sign of fall

1. Green Mountain Pumpkin Spice coffee is back!!!